Britain will not walk away from Afghanistan – PM


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The Prime Minister has reaffirmed the UK’s commitment to the campaign in Afghanistan.

During a speech at the Royal College of Defence Studies this
morning, Gordon Brown said the Government remained committed to
tackling the threat of terrorism at its source, and preventing it
reaching the UK.

Mr Brown said the biggest domestic threat “continues to come from
the mountains of Pakistan and Afghanistan” justifying the area as
Britain’s “first line of defence”.

The Prime Minister added that the campaign in Afghanistan is one of “necessity, not one of choice”.

“There is no strategy that is without danger and risk.
But that is the responsibility of leadership – of government, and of
our armed forces. To do what is necessary, however difficult, to keep
the British people safe. We can not, must not and will not walk away.”

Mr Brown said the campaign would be deemed a success when British
troops have helped to train local troops and police to deliver security
themselves.

“We will not give up this strategy of mentoring because
it is what distinguishes a liberating army from an army of occupation.
Not an army in opposition to local Afghan people but an army supporting
local Afghan people.”

Mr Brown said ongoing international and local support would depend
on President Karzai delivering on five tests during his second term as
President: sufficient training of Afghan troops; leading the fight
against corruption; drug-free economic development supported by work on
schooling and infrastructure; an inclusive political settlement; and a
stronger relationship with Pakistan.

During his speech, Gordon Brown paid a personal tribute to UK
soldiers who have been wounded or given their lives in Afghanistan
ahead of Remembrance Day.

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